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Lake Spivey Rotary Club signing up sprinters for Jonesboro race

The Lake Spivey Rotary Club is partnering with the city of Jonesboro to hold the first-ever Spring Sprint 5K and 10K walk and race event March 22. The race will take participants through the historic core of Clayton County’s oldest city. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

The Lake Spivey Rotary Club is partnering with the city of Jonesboro to hold the first-ever Spring Sprint 5K and 10K walk and race event March 22. The race will take participants through the historic core of Clayton County’s oldest city. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — Runners will lace up their shoes and hit the streets of Jonesboro’s historic district in a little more than a week.

The Lake Spivey Rotary Club is partnering with the city to hold the first-ever Spring Sprint 5K and 10K races March 22.The event will be a fundraiser for the club’s charitable activities. However, it will also be a chance for participants to see most of the 154-year old city, which is the oldest in Clayton County.

Club and city officials have been working together for months to put together a race that will take runners through Jonesboro’s central neighborhoods, along its historic corridors on Main and McDonough streets and along the southern edges of town.

But, while most of the logistics of the race have been falling into place, Rotary Club Programs Co-Chairwoman Debbie Walker said there has been one snag.

“What we need is runners,” said Walker. “We wanted people to go online and pre-register, but that has not been going as well as we would have liked, so runners are the big thing we need right now.”

Registration is already underway for the race and sign-up paperwork can be picked up at Jonesboro City Hall, 124 North Ave. Sprinters can also pre-register at www.runnersfit.com. The sign-up fee is $20 for adults and children over 10 and the cost includes a race T-shirt. Children under 10 can run for free.

On-site registration will begin at 7:30 a.m., at Lee Street Park, 140 Smith St., and the run/walk is expected to begin at 8:30 a.m. The race will begin and end at the park in one of the last events to be held there before the city begins a major renovation project.

Jonesboro police Chief Franklin Allen said 5K race will be stay in the downtown area, but the 10K race will extend south of the city limits to the Noah’s Ark Road area. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to help block off portions of South Main Street, Noah’s Ark and Turner roads that will be used in the race but are outside city limits, Allen said.

“We were able to keep the 5K in the city,” said Allen. “But the 10K — because it’s so much larger — we tried every way we could to keep it in the city and, with the exception of the section that goes out Turner Road and comes back up South Main, we were able to keep it in the city.”

Walker said the club wanted to do something to promote the city as a way to give back to the community.

“It seems like every group in Clayton County uses the Lake Spivey Golf Course for something and we wanted to do something to bring attention to downtown Jonesboro,” said Walker.

Walker said the Rotary Club is paying for most of the items needed for the race, including marketing, T-shirts and banners. The city’s main expense will be the police officers on duty to provide security, she said.

Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day said she is excited about hosting an event that promotes the city and its history. At the same time, the city is helping the club raise money that will be used to support community organizations, such as Arts Clayton, Rainbow House, House of Dawn and the Clayton County Public Schools Homeless Education Program.

Day said the city is paying the registration costs for any of its 45 employees and six city council members who decide to participate in the run and walk event as a way to encourage participation.

“I thought that would bring a few people out,” she said.

The Rotary Club has organized several family events to be held in Lee Street Park, including music, face painting, refreshments, raffle prizes and vendor booths for race sponsors. Health care providers from Southern Regional Medical Center will also be on-hand to provide free health screenings.

Today is the deadline for businesses and community groups to sign up as sponsors for the race. Sponsorship levels include $35 for a vendor’s booth, $100 to have the business’ name listed on the race T-Shirt and $250 to get a booth and have the company name placed on the T-Shirt and a banner that will be hung at the event.

Businesses owners and organization leaders can call 770-376-5273 or send an email to SpringsprintLSRC@gmail.com to sign up as a business sponsor

Day said the city and Rotary Club want to see the race be successful and become an annual event. It will not be a USA Track and Field-certified race this year, but Day said she would like to see it become one in the future.

“It’s a benefit for some of the Rotary charities, so it’s a good thing for the city to do,” said Day.

Check www.lakespiveyrotary.com and www.jonesboroga.com for information on additional upcoming events sponsored by the club and the city. A sponsor and race participant sign up brochure can also be found on lakespiveyrotary.com.